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Considering Leaving Your

Stuck in a Sexless Marriage? Find Out What You Can Do About It

By Susie and Otto Collins

Jason used to believe that he and his wife, Karen, were just going through a difficult patch in their marriage.

She was very ill for several months and he completely understood why they weren't having
sex-- she felt horrible and was dealing with a lot of pain and discomfort.

Once Karen recovered from her illness, Jason suggested that they start being sexually intimate again and she always refused him.

Usually she was too tired or said she was worried that making love would take too much of her energy, which she was only just regaining.

This was frustrating to Jason, but he continued to hold out hope that this was only temporary.

Now, a full year and a half later, Karen is completely recovered. She's resumed all of her responsibilities at work and the other activities that she was doing
before she got sick...except for making love with him.

At this point, Jason doesn't even try to be romantic or ask Karen to have sex with him. He doesn't want to be rejected by her anymore.

He has considered having an affair, but can't bear the thought of betraying his marriage vows like that.

Jason is miserable, lonely and feels powerless to change this situation. He is thinking about filing for divorce, but really doesn't want to.

There are a lot of different reasons why a couple stops having sex with one another.

Like Jason and Karen, sometimes a major illness or disease stands in the way of sexual intimacy.

For other couples, traumatic past experiences such as rape or sexual abuse are the block. Conditions
such as erectile dysfunction or other challenges can also bring sexual relations to a standstill.

Aside from these emotional and physical factors, unresolved disagreements, mistrust, tension and built up resentments can all play a role in a marriage becoming sexless.

For some couples, "sexless" means that they don't ever have sex with one another-- ever. For others, it means that they do have sex, but it's very rare, perhaps once every couple of months.

What's most important is that you acknowledge it if your sexless marriage is a problem for you.

Sex drives do vary from individual to individual, but if you are unhappy because you and your spouse are
"never" or "rarely" having sex, this is something for you to pay attention to.

If you are unhappy about being in a sexless marriage, you might also be feeling resentful, angry or rejected. You may be considering ending your marriage or you might just feel miserably stuck.

We encourage you to take some time to make a shift.

Instead of fixating on all of things about your marriage that you cannot change right now and rather than telling yourself that you are stuck, invite
yourself to identify some things that you CAN do about this situation.

Here are some ideas to help...

Make a "for now" decision about whether you will stay in or leave your marriage.

Facing the decision about whether or not to stay in your marriage can be daunting. It's not a choice to be made lightly and it might not be a choice that feels possible, easy or pain-free.

We urge you to consider all of your options. Even if you make a "for now" decision, make a decision. It can help you feel less powerless and stuck when you are consciously choosing your next best step.

When you are alone and can be undisturbed, sit down with a piece of paper and write out every single option concerning your marriage that occurs to you.

For now, don't worry about how it will happen and
don't censor yourself.

As you look over the list, circle those options which you feel most drawn to. Do they lean more toward staying for now or toward leaving?

Keep this dialogue with yourself open and listen to what you hear.

Get to the root of the sexlessness.

If you are staying in your marriage-- even if you're just staying "for now"-- it's important for you to get a clearer idea of what is at the root of the lack of sex in your relationship.

If you found writing down ideas that come to you helpful, do this again. If not, you can just think about it.

Try to identify the individual and relationship habits that are active in your marriage.

These could pertain to trust, communication, jealousy, past experiences, long-running arguments or other dynamics.

Without getting side-tracked by who you think is to blame for the sexlessness in your relationship, hone in on the actual habits and tendencies. Blame will be less effective in finding a solution.

[By the way, "My spouse agreeing to have sex with me" is not the kind of solution we're talking about. That is the end result you are looking for, not the solution to get you there.]

As you identify habits, make sure you are being as objective as possible.

Use tangible behaviors as one indicator of habits and also be sure to consider how you feel and how your partner has said that he or she feels.

Come up with actions you will take that can support the kind of change you want.

Now that you have this valuable information about your relationship, you can come up with some actions that can bring the kind of improvements you want.

Depending on what you decided, this might involve you talking with an attorney and starting the process of ending your marriage.

If you have decided to stay, you will want to choose some ideas that you will possibly talk with your spouse about too.

This might take the form of creating relationship agreements such as: You both will meet with a relationship coach or counselor, you two will actively rebuild trust or as a couple, you will set aside one evening a week to gradually re-start intimacy with
one another.
To find out more about Susie and Otto's book Should You Stay or Should You Go? visit our web site at


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Contact Info
Relationship Coaches Susie and Otto Collins, PO Box 14544, Columbus, OH 43214
Contact Susie or Otto about Relationship Coaching by calling (614) 568-8282.
For all other inquiries, contact us by email.

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